Content Marketing Matters for eCommerce

Content marketing is everywhere. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a marketer who isn’t seeing the impact of content marketing on their discipline.

Content Marketing is Growing. Fast.

Whether they’re B2B businesses, B2C businesses or even government agencies and nonprofits, enterprise sized organizations are going digital, and finding their online publishing needs looking increasingly like the needs of digital publishers.  

As Ryan Skinner, Senior Analyst at Forrester Research points out in his recent report Build the Case For Content Marketing observes:

When asked if they practice content marketing, the vast majority of marketing leaders confirm that they do. Teams from across marketing — including brand, search, social, PR, email, media, website, and mobile — are all busy creating valuable content strategies to meet their objectives in the digital sphere. Forrester’s survey of consumer marketers expressed all of this activity in clear budgetary terms: More consumer marketers put content marketing among their top five budget posts to increase in 2014 than any other channel except digital advertising.

Engagement, customer experience and providing useful and relevant online content is now increasingly the priority of every business, every organization, and every website.

Content Marketing is Not Another Silo

Strong content is not an arm or silo in marketing strategy-- it is an overarching business driver, that should support all business efforts. This is, of course, not always easy. As Robert Rose, Senior Analyst at Digital Clarity Group  explains:

Instead of organizing our marketing in a way that makes content and information flow more freely through the organization, we play “catch-up” with every new channel that content and information might flow through. We now have social marketing teams, mobile teams, email teams, web content teams, ecommerce teams.

Strong content should transcend departments, helping create a holistic and brand consistent digital experience for visitors. Few opportunities for content to drive business are as great as eCommerce.

Content Matters for eCommerce

Mobile commerce transactions will reach 3.2 trillion by 2017. In the United States, 73% of internet users make online purchases, while 85% of UK internet users shop online. 80% of German internet users engage in mobile commerce. Businesses need to take this seriously.

As Forrester Analyst Jeff Ernst points out, “in the age of the customer, business buyers don’t “buy” your product; they “buy into” your approach to solving their problem.” To differentiate, online retailers need to reach potential customers earlier in the buying cycle: when they are considering the solution to a problem, rather than selecting a product. It’s here that strong content can position these businesses as trusted advisors. Engagement early in the customer journey through thought leadership and advisory content can lay the groundwork for a strong relationship with the customer beyond a single checkout.

Addressing the higher need behind a purchase is an investment that can create engaged, returning customers who advocate for the business and brand.

Content takes eCommerce Beyond the Catalogue

Strong content helps online retailers address the core needs behind purchases, by providing the dynamic and engaging information needed to truly make their decisions. In his whitepaper CMS -A Critical Solution For Today’s eCommerce, Robert Rose writes:

One of the primary challenges of today’s eCommerce sites are that many are treated as a collection of store “pages” rather than as a collection of potential buying journeys. Many eCommerce sites are just static catalogs or ebrochures not “shopping assistants.

As I’ve said before, the old price, place, promotion and package formula no longer cuts it. Customers want to know the story behind their product or how it can fit into their lifestyle.

Content Marketing is Business Critical

And content marketing is not just icing on the cake-- it’s business critical: 76% of online visitors that have a negative online eCommerce experience will not shop with that retailer again. Just take a look at content marketing powerhouses like Weleda or Bugaboo to see the impact engaging and enchanting content has on an eCommerce experience.

From a pure marketing technology perspective, content is central to any inbound marketing strategy. Generating quality content raises SEO values, lowering search engine advertising costs.

Successful Content is Content that Performs

Beyond just targeted advertisements, businesses need to deliver relevant and targeted content to truly tap into visitors’ needs and provide value at the various stages in their customer journey.

Through targeted content, online retailers can gain progressive insights about their audiences, and use those insights from content marketing to continuously provide increasingly precise and relevant customer experiences. 90% of consumers find custom content useful, and 78% that brands serving them custom content value their business.

The power of targeted onsite content goes beyond suggested products, which are contextual to a current product viewed, putting the individual and their real-time behavior at the center of their own eCommerce experience. Anything from device accessed, to geolocation, to local weather or time of day can be factors influencing the onsite content delivered.

It’s no wonder the that a recent Hippo research, Using Big Data to Target Online Content, found that targeted onsite content led to an 8% increase in revenue. When it comes to eCommerce,  it’s time for businesses to tap into the power of truly relevant content.

Blog by Sonja Wraith, VP of Marketing at Hippo